TA considers supplying heroin to addicts

City health and welfare officials hope the new plan will drastically help cut down crime.

heroin 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
heroin 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tel Aviv has come up with a controversial new plan to give free heroin to addicts who have failed rehabilitation attempts, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Tel Aviv. City health and welfare officials are putting together the revolutionary plan, which is aimed at preventing the social damage caused by addicts trying to obtain money to buy the illicit drugs. According to the report, four out of every five heroin addicts who complete rehabilitation programs eventually end up back on the drug, and three out of every four property crimes are committed by drug addicts. The city's welfare service has decided to follow the example of some European countries and has come up with a plan to provide controlled quantities of heroin free to adult addicts who have failed several rehabilitation attempts. The distribution would be done at a specific medical clinic under the supervision of doctors. The plan will need to come before the Health Ministry for approval before it can go ahead. "There are addicts who will spend the rest of their lives on the drug, and distributing it to them is a vital treatment," one specialist said. The report said the city's welfare service is currently dealing with 1,707 households for drug-related problems, and workers in the field have long recognized that major problems arise from addicts' attempts to get money for drugs. Police statistics show that 75 percent of property crimes and many of the recent attacks on elderly people have been committed by addicts trying to get money. The figures also show that only 20% of addicts succeed in rehabilitation programs in the long term. The report said there are currently some 15,000 drug addicts in Israel, most of them addicted to heroin. No response was reported from the Health Ministry.